The opposite side of the brain controls the opposite side of the body. The left side of the brain, which is also responsible for communication (both receptive and expressive) also controls the right side of the body, and therefore, may play a part in handedness. However, others speculate that genetics and environment also play a role. Genetically speaking, both of my nieces are left handed and their grandfather was also left handed.
Over the years, while interviewing parents, many have told me that they were “forced” to be right handed because they didn’t have lefty scissors or their teacher didn’t know how to teach a lefty how to write. (We refer to this as environmental set-up.)
Remember the desks with the built in arm rest on the right? I don’t recall those same desks built for leftys, at least in my small town school. Thankfully, left handed scissors or universal scissors (made for right or left handed children) are more readily available, and more notebooks and workbooks are being made with binding at the top to eliminate the need to work over the spiral binding.
It is also possible for children (and adults) to learn to use their non-dominant extremity. One of the children we work with at Touchstone has learned to use his left hand, as a result of his dominant right side being affected by a stroke.
-Michelle + Amy
*NOTE: This is part 1 of a 3-Part series of questions on Righty v. Lefty. We’ll address other related questions in future blog posts so stay tuned!